Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

Prediction: PIT 31, TEN 13 (Line: PIT by 5.5)

Players to Watch: Kendall Wright, Rashard Mendenhall

The 2-2 Steelers head to Tennessee looking for their first road win and the 1-4 Titans have only their freak win over the Lions to keep them from the cellar where they belong. The Steelers won 38-17 when the Titans were the visitors last season. This is the Thursday night game and that should keep the Steelers motivated.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Homefield: Heinz Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 19-31 10 KC -----
2 NYJ 27-10 11 BAL -----
3 @OAK 31-34 12 @CLE -----
4 BYE ----- 13 @BAL -----
5 PHI 16-14 14 SD -----
6 @TEN ----- 15 @DAL -----
7 @CIN ----- 16 CIN -----
8 WAS ----- 17 CLE -----
9 @NYG ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
PIT @ TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Ben Roethlisberger 280,3
WR Antonio Brown 7-90
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey 2-30
TE Heath Miller 4-50,2
PK Shaun Suisham 1 FG 4 XP

Pregame Notes: The Steelers barely nipped the Eagles last week and Ben Roethlisberger fell from his normal high yardage and multiple passing scores to only 207 yards and no touchdowns. But his last road game resulted in 384 yards and four touchdowns against the Raiders in Oakland. The return of Rashard Mendenhall provided a spark top the rushing effort but nothing so big as to detract from what this passing offense intends to do each week. If anything, adding any success running the ball will only help the passing effort since defenses have had no reason to concern themselves with the run when they play the Steelers.

Mendenhall is one of the several running backs returning from a torn ACL who apparently have healed completely and without any signs of lingering problems. In his first action since last year, Mendenhall ran for 81 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries and even added two catches for 20 yards. And that came against a normally good Philly rush defense. Playing at home is a bit of a help but overall the results were very encouraging for an offense that has seen nearly no rushing success from Jonathan Dwyer or Isaac Redman who have combined for just one touchdown over the first three games. This will remain a committee backfield of sorts and a reality is that Mendenhall is not likely to get a heavy rushing load in this pass-first offense. But he is new to the 2012 fantasy starters and so far has been rather impressive.

Heath Miller scored in each of the first three games including twice in Oakland but finally posted a low-key effort when he only turned in four catches for 41 yards versus the Eagles. He still remains the leading scorer for the Steelers and a favorite for Roethlisberger.

Mike Wallace had a problem holding onto the ball and dropped three passes last week including one potential long-gainer. He ended with just two receptions for 17 yards after having scored in each of the first three weeks and posted 123 yards on the Raiders. Antonio Brown has been far more consistent and has remained between 74 and 87 yards every week with just one touchdown that came, of course, against the Raiders. Last week he was pitted against Nnamdi Asomugha and still turned in seven receptions for 86 yards.

No reason to overanalyze here. The Titans have never allowed less than 30 points to any opponent and yet just one was able to score more than 14 points. That means the Steelers get a nice stats day so long as they remain motivated.

Gaining Fantasy Points PIT 11 18 9 8 13 27
Preventing Fantasy Points TEN 26 26 18 32 31 27

QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT @CAR 0000023012 ***
Carolina hasn't allowed as much as a 20-point fantasy game to a visiting quarterback since Russell Wilson barely reached that mark with 320 and 1 in Week 1 of last season. They've held both Josh McCown and Matthew Stafford under that benchmark this season, and with one TD toss to his credit this year it's unlikely Big Ben cracks that mark as well.
RB Le'Veon Bell, PIT @CAR 5006500000 ***
The bad news is, Carolina hasn't allowed a RB rushing score or a back to rush for more than 54 yards this season. The good news is, Bell is contributing as a receiver as well and the Panthers have allowed a RB receiving score in each game this year.
WR Antonio Brown, PIT @CAR 006800000 ***
Even the mighty Megatron could muster only 83 yards without a score against the Panthers secondary, so despite Browns' hot start temper your expectations.
WR Markus Wheaton, PIT @CAR 005400000 ***
Wheaton followed up his solid Week 1 showing with a down Week 2. The difficult matchup dictates Week 3 to be more like the latter than the former, which is bad fantasy news.
WR Lance Moore, PIT @CAR 002200000 ***
This offense usually feeds just two receivers, and against Carolina it will be lucky to provide one fantasy helper. Moore is too far down the depth chart to be banked on for production here.
TE Heath Miller, PIT @CAR 004300000 ***
Heath has yet to produce a fantasy helper this season, and the stout Carolina defense isn't likely to change that fate.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Shaun Suisham, PIT @CAR 2211 ***
The usually reliable Suisham faces a Carolina defense that has yet to allow a field goal this season. On the bright side, this is bound to be a low-scoring affair which tends to mean fewer TDs and more field goals.

Tennessee Titans
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NE 13-34 10 @MIA -----
2 @SD 10-38 11 BYE -----
3 DET 44-41 12 @JAC -----
4 @HOU 14-38 13 HOU -----
5 @MIN 7-30 14 @IND -----
6 PIT ----- 15 NYJ -----
7 @BUF ----- 16 @GB -----
8 IND ----- 17 JAC -----
9 CHI ----- ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
vs Rush Catch Pass
RB Shonn Greene 60
RB Dexter McCluster
WR T.J. Graham 3-40
WR Derek Hagan 2-30
WR Nate Washington 5-50
WR Kendall Wright 7-60
PK Ryan Succop 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: It just keeps getting worse for the Titans. Last week without Jake Locker, the Titans hit a season low with only seven points scored despite allowing 30 points or more in every game. The schedule has been no friend and is not again this week but it gets slightly better in the second half of the season. The switch to Matt Hasselbeck had little results when he only passed for 200 yards and one score in Minnesota. After five weeks, this offense only has a total of seven touchdowns and a few of those came in trash time of decided games.

Chris Johnson somehow rang up 141 yards on 25 runs in Houston where they clearly did not care when he would run a draw in the second half when the Titans were being pummeled and needed to throw. Last week Johnson was back to normal when he only gained 25 yards on 15 runs.

Javon Ringer is out for up to six weeks with a torn MCL so there is no one else to turn to even if they wanted. Even with his one big game, Johnson only has 3.0 yards per carry. Take that away it is dives to 1.4 yards per run. There is just no reason to assume he is going to have a good game in any given week. Much less against the Steelers.

Jared Cook scored in two of the last three weeks which is big on a team with so little success passing. Cook ends with three or four catches per week with moderate yardage at best. He still remains below the fantasy radar.

Kenny Britt returned last week to post two receptions for 23 yards but his ankle is still not completely healed. He is expected to play in this game though he may be on a snap count with limited work. Nate Washington had early success and scored in the first two home games but has been shut down in every road venue. He'll need to step again at home this week for the Titans to remain in the game for any length of time. Kendall Wright comes off a career high nine catches for 66 yards in Minnesota and the rookie has been getting over eight passes per game since week two, He has already become the primary wideout for the Titans though the title so far brings only two touchdowns so far and even less respect. Wright has been a bright spot on a dull team.

The offense has been sluggish at best and needs for the opponent to stop caring and allow trash time and yardage. That is not likely to happen on Thursday night football against the Steelers. There is nothing on this team that suggests a trap game is in the making and the Steelers are just 2-2 so need every win.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 19 31 17 4 27 21
Preventing Fantasy Points PIT 13 7 12 23 5 9

QB Jake Locker, TEN @CIN 0000023012 ****
After laying a fantasy egg last week at home against the Cowboys, Locker on the road against a very good Cincy secondary holds no interest.
RB Shonn Greene, TEN @CIN 500000000 ***
What little success Bengals opponents have had on the ground has been generated by speed backs like Justin Forsett and Jacquizz Rodgers. "Shonn Greene" and "speed back" have never been mentioned in close proximity without a qualifier like "is nowhere near anything like a" in between.
RB Dexter McCluster, TEN @CIN 3002100000 ***
McCluster came out of last week's loss to Dallas in a walking boot; if healthy he's the kind of back that has had a modicum of success against the Bengals, so it's a situation worth revisiting later in the week.
RB Bishop Sankey, TEN @CIN 200000000 ***
If Sankey were seeing more touches we'd be mildly optimistic; instead, we'll hope this week's dud from Shonn Greene is the impetus the Titans need to elevate their second-round pick to the feature back role.
WR Justin Hunter, TEN @CIN 004500000 ***
Steve Smith and Julio Jones have forged solid outings against the Bengals; other receivers, not so much. Hunter has the talent to join that crew, but he has displayed said talent so inconsistently--like last week, when he should have toasted Dallas but instead turned six targets into just 2-26--that he's not to be trusted with a fantasy start here.
WR Kendall Wright, TEN @CIN 005500000 ***
Wright has been similarly targeted and slightly more productive catch-wise than Justin Hunter, so you could make a tepid case for him as the Titans' WR1. And the Bengals have allowed one receiver to put up good numbers against them each week. So Wright isn't necessarily an awful start, but the hope is at this point in the season you still have other better options at your disposal.
TE Delanie Walker, TEN @CIN 008701000 ***
Cincy has allowed the second-most TE catches thus far this year, a number skewed somewhat by facing Dennis Pitta and Owen Daniels in the season opener. That said, Tennessee's passing game has run primarily through Walker thus far this season; don't expect last week's numbers, but neither should you write off his 10-142-1 as a fluke.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Ryan Succop, TEN @CIN 2211 ***
Cincy tends to keep a lid on the scoring, so temper expectations for Succop this week.

BUF at ARI *GB at HOU *NE at SEA *DEN at SD (MON)
*CIN at CLE *IND at NYJ *NYG at SF Bye:
*Updated DAL at BAL *KC at TB OAK at ATL CAR, CHI, JAC, NO

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